Posts tagged marketing consulatant
How to Survive the Holiday Season as a Business Owner

If you can believe it, the holiday season is pretty much upon us. Before you know it, you'll be trying to balance your normal workload with holiday parties, present shopping, wrapping, and family in town.

And while it's so tempting to just take a break from all the social posting, and blogging and marketing work (I mean... let's be honest.. you're audience is busy too), where does that leave you in the New Year?

After working so hard all year, taking a break for the next few months leave you scrambling to bring you audience back up in 2019. So, how can we stay productive and focused, yet still manage to make time for all those fun holiday activities?

Check out the October inside The Hub for these answers and more. It's chock full of:

✔️content ideas centered around the season,
✔️inspiration to keep you focused,
✔️and a rock solid plan so you can stay connected and engaged with your audience throughout "the most wonderful time of the year".

All of this is inside The Digital Marketing Hub just waiting for you! If you're not a member of The Hub now's your chance to get 40% off your membership. Just click this link to get instant access to this, and all our previous trainings at an insane sale price! But hurry - this price expires on Tuesday!

Video 1 of 8: Genius Content Marketing Hacks and Blog Ideas

The hardest part about creating new content and blogs is actually coming up with an idea of what to write about.

Picture it: You’ve set aside some time to write your blog. This week you’re going to actually do it! You open up your lap top, click on Microsoft Office, and that white screen pops up. Now that little curser is sitting there blinking at you, waiting for your brilliant words to come spilling out.

And… nothing is coming out. Now you’re staring at that blank screen with that blinking, mocking cursor. You’re feeling more and more anxious, but nothing is coming to mind. You scan through the inner recesses of your mind but you just can’t think of single, solitary idea. Finally, you slam your computer shut and decide you’ll try again next week.

Ok, maybe that is slightly dramatic, but it’s pretty close… #amiright?

Well, you don’t have to stress any more. For the next 8 weeks I’m brining you some genius (if I do say so myself) hacks to easily brainstorming content ideas. They’re easy, insightful and guaranteed to get your creative juices flowing.

No Summer! Don't Go Yet!

Summer is rolling to a close (no! not yet!). But we've got some sizzling hot new content for you inside The Hub! (see what I did there?)

Think you've read everything there is about the importance of getting links?

And are still confused? It's all good - we're diving deep into this Off Page SEO technique (among others), and are showing you how to easily get links back to your site. Super clear, super straight forward, super important

Ready to start driving more sales, without having to work much harder?

I mean, who isn't!? We brought in sales funnel expert April Lewis to give us her insider secrets on putting together sales funnels that will help you bring in more email signups and sales for all that content, course work and consulting packages you have just waiting to be bought.

Looking for a new (FREE!) stock photo source?

I've got another guest on the podcast this month, Dara Simons (aka web design genius), who is sharing with us some of her best tips in case you need to DIY your own website. AND she even has some great resources and ideas for cool (aka not LAME) stock photos!

All of this content (PLUS one more Guest Expert training later this month on how to get out of your head and get visible on video) is brand new this month inside The Digital Marketing Hub!

Oh, and because you can try it out FREE for the first seven days, you can check all of this stuff WITHOUT paying a dime!

I can just hear the chorus of "Thank You's" now! (You're welcome by the way!)

Check out The Hub here!

Your A to Z Guide to The Perfect SEO Strategy

Feel like we beat the SEO drum here at The Hub? You're right, we do!

Let's chat about SEO (aka search engine optimization) a little bit. Why are we so fanatical about it? Well, have you been a little frustrated lately by the reach (or lack there of) on Facebook? Have you been seeing some traffic on your website but they haven't been buying anything (because they're not really your ideal audience)? Do you know need to step up your marketing but aren't in a place to spend money doing it?

SEO is the answer to all of these issues. It's the best way, especially in this new digital marketplace, to get through the clutter, stand out in front of your ideal target audience, and reach them in the place that they are *literally* searching for your products or services.

But hey, I get it, SEO can be overwhelming, confusing and frustrating. There is SO much information out there, and a lot of it is so "techy". Are you feeling:

✔️ A little turned off by the entire search engine optimization thing? 
✔️ Avoided it because you're not sure where to start?
✔️ Think you're doing it right but aren't 100% sure?

Enter Sara Graybill of Graybill Creative. Her guest expert training, inside The Digital Marketing Hub, is walking you through an ENTIRE search strategy (that's right, A to Z, start to finish) and doing it in a way that you can actually understand and implement! Shocking, I know!

No more wondering what an SEO strategy entails. Now more trying to figure out if you're doing the right thing. It's all about finally feeling confident, finally get more qualified traffic, and finally making sales without paying out the nose for advertising.

So, if you're a member, head on into The Digital Marketing Hub and check it out! I

f you haven't signed up yet, visit thedigitalhub.club/get-access to learn more and get instant access to this and a whole bunch of other trainings inside!

We're celebrating the 4th of July...

.... with brand new content inside The Digital Marketing Hub!

What do we have for you this month?

Ever wondered how your website is REALLY doing?

I've got a step-by-step video all about one of my favorite tools (Google Search Console) that includes how to set it up, explores all the features and tools, and walks you through how to analyze your results. Check out the latest Masterclass this month to get my tips and advice.

Speaking of websites.. frustrated with trying to write that perfect, customer converting copy for it?

Your website should tell your story, showcase your brand, AND convince your potential client/customer to buy. I know, easier said than done right!? Don't worry, I've brought in copywriter Amy Lanci, to give some of her best tips and guidelines for writing THE BEST website copy.

Putting out content but still struggling to get more followers on Instagram?

This month I invited guest expert, Yael Bendahan, And together we're exploring how to keep your instagram growing consistently with REAL potential clients and customers who will REALLY engage with your content (among other things).

All of this content (PLUS one more Guest Expert training later this month on how to get more organic traffic to your website) is brand new this month inside The Digital Marketing Hub!

Oh, and because you can try it out FREE for the first seven days, you can check all of this stuff WITHOUT paying a dime!

I can just hear the chorus of "Thank You's" now! (You're welcome by the way!)

Do You IGTV?

In case you haven't heard, last week Instagram announced it's brand new app, IGTV (short for Instagram Television). What is it? It's a stand alone app (yes you have to download it from the App Store.) that allows users to create long form videos that can range anywhere from 15 seconds to 1 hour. 

That's right! You're not limited to the 15 second snippets inside Instagram Stories, or the 60 seconds on your feed any more! It allows creators to make vertical form videos (think no more having to rotate your phone sideways to watch videos) that tell longer stories, showcase their talents or business, and save those memories to their channel for people to continue going back to (long after your Instagram Story has expired). 

So, how can a business, like yours, utilize IGTV? Let's talk about what you can use it for.

1. Welcome/About Videos - Need some more space to talk about you and your business? In IGTV you can create long form videos that showcase your products/services, walk a potential client or customer through what they can expect if they work with you, or give a full view of what a day in the life is like for your business.

2. Training Videos - Facebook (and particularly Facebook Live) has been notorious for capturing the "training" video market. Now, educators have another platform to give step-by-steps, offer tips and tricks, and give insider advice.

3. Dive deeper into products - Create showcases around physical products and really get a chance to showcase all the in's and out's. Walk potential customers through membership sites or courses, giving them an inside view of what they're about to purchase.

I know it can be daunting to take on ANOTHER social media platform, but look at this one as an extension of what you're already doing. Video, and digital TV, is the way people are continuing to consume more and more information, and jumping on this trend early can put you ahead of the crowd.

Are you ready for all this?

Oooohhh I'm SUPER excited about some of the AMAZING content I just launched for June!

What's got me so pumped? Let me break it down for you...

The June Masterclass is all about the #1 way to reach your target market.

With all this  noise around GDPR, it has people wondering. Is email marketing even worth it? Spoiler alert: YES! Check out the latest Masterclass to learn my best practices, favorite email platforms (some are FREE), and best ways to grow your email list with engaged followers

This Month's "Ask Hubble" Podcast is all about some social media hacks.

Hacks you say? That's right, I've got a guest on with me and we're diving into how you can still get around the new Facebook algorithm to get some real organic views (YUP! It's still possible!), AND talk about how you can use Google+ to get some real website traffic.

Oh, and our Guest Expert Training is giving you the exact steps she used to go from $0 to $10K months in less than half a year.

Oh yeah... We've got online growth expert Melodi Maxton spilling some MAJOR secrets on how she organically grew her business WITHOUT a following, social media presence or website. Interested to find out how she did it?  

All of this content (PLUS one more Guest Expert training on how you can make passive revenue WITHOUT creating your own online course or product)  is brand new this month inside The Digital Marketing Hub!

So head on over and get instant access to all of this PLUS some amazing past trainings inside The Hub!

How to Stick to the Commitment of Content Marketing

I recently saw a quote that spoke to my soul (ok, maybe that's a little dramatic but I really liked it). "Content marketing is a long term relationship. It's not a one night stand." - Unknown

This is something I preach to all of my clients. You can't have a successful content marketing strategy if you don't stay consistent. You can't move up in Google search if you refuse to blog. You can't authentically connect with your target through ads alone.

But I totally get it. Creating authentic, real content on a consistent basis is REALLY hard. It takes time, and it takes energy, that a lot of small business owners don't feel like they have. So, how can you stick to a successful content marketing strategy, when you don't feel like doing it?

1. Schedule time in advance. This one seems simple but it's the one thing that I've found makes the biggest difference for most of my clients. Before the start of each week, mark off an hour in your calendar that you are going to devote to creating content. Trying to squeeze it in between other activities, greatly reduces the chances of you actually doing it. Here's the deal though, you HAVE to treat this time like a meeting or other event you can't blow off. Do not schedule anything over it, or push it aside. When looking to put something else in your calendar, know that time is truly booked.

2. Work in a format that you enjoy(ish). Do you absolutely, positively HATE writing? No matter how much you try to force yourself to blog, the words just do NOT come out? Then stop it! Shift your focus to a format that feels more comfortable for you. Think about doing a weekly video blog, or Facebook Live that you can host on your site after you do it. Like to talk, but don't want to be in front of a camera? Look into starting a weekly podcast. While any of these may still be a chore to you, picking the one you like the most (or hate the least) makes it a little bit easier.

3. Find someone to do it for you. If you still just can't stick to a consistent blogging and social media schedule, look into finding someone to do it for you. Yes, it's that important that it's worth investing in. Find a freelancer or consultant (I happen to know a good one ;) ...) that can get you back on track. Don't have any budget for it? Scout out some local colleges for marketing or writing interns. At the end of the day, try to open up some space to finding outside sources to help you in this area of your business. Creating authentic content is one of the best ways to move up in Google search, cut through the noise, connect with your audience, and convert them into paying customers.

PSA! The "Scary" SEO Thing You've Probably Been Avoiding

Ahhh.... Metadata. (Wait! Don't go! Hear me out!) That 8 letter word that causes some of the most confusion, frustration and irritation among business owners when it comes to SEO. Often times, when working with clients, I will bring up working on their "back end data" and they immediately shut down. Either it's something that seems super overwhelming to them, or it's something they've been burned on in the past. Let me explain...

A lot of SEO "companies" know that some of the more technical aspects of SEO can be confusing to business owners. And why wouldn't it be? Your expertise is in running your business, NOT optimizing your website for search. Unfortunately, there are some people who take advantage of that lack of knowledge (or lack of interest in learning), and will either overcharge, or claim their doing "something" to your website that isn't really getting you any results.

So today, I'm breaking down Metadata. Now, don't shut down - it's really not that scary, I PROMISE! So before you invest a ton of money in an SEO company (or a ton of time researching how to do SEO yourself), let's dive into some of the terminology when it comes to "back end SEO" and whether or not you should be wasting your time, money and energy on it.

Meta Titles

Meta Titles, or Title Tags, are the titles you give each of your pages. These title tags are displayed in search as the clickable title in search results, as well as the title that appears up on the tab in a web browser.

Meta titles - digital marketing, rhode island.

Meta Titles are really important not just for Google to get an idea of what your page is about it, but are used for social sharing (they're what populates automatically when you paste a link in Facebook), and should encourage clicks to your site. Updating your Meta Titles on every one of your website's pages should be a top priority.

Meta Descriptions

Meta Descriptions, like Meta Titles, are full sentence descriptions placed on the backend of each page in your website, that utilize keywords to appeal to search engines, and draw in potential website traffic. Like their Title counterpart, these should also be updated to include important keywords on each and every page.

Meta Descriptions - Hub Digital Marketing, RI.

Meta Keywords

Ok, here's a good sign if the SEO company you're looking to hire is legit. Meta Keywords used to be Google's jam, and it was the main focus of almost every SEO company's strategy for a long time. However, Google realized that people were just stuffing random keywords into the section, and that it wasn't helping them serve relevant results to people. So a few years ago they completely eliminated any authority behind meta keywords. If you find an SEO company that is still touting them as part of their strategy, you may want to think twice.

Alt Tags

Alt Tags, or Alternative Text Tags, are descriptions put on the back of images, that describe what the image is, or the function of it. It's used mostly by screen readers (for those that are blind or visually impaired), but also hold weight with Google, who use them to tell what the image and it's surrounding text is about. Adding Alt Tags to your images are a great way to add even MORE keywords to your site, plus ensures your site is accessible to those who are visually impaired.

Alt Text Tags - Hub Digital Marketing

H1-H3 Tags

A lot of people believe that Heading 1, Heading 2, Heading 3 (and so on), tags are strictly used for design purposes, as they often change the style of text. Not true! They are actually great ways to layout your page, and quickly and easily showcase your page content to Google. Make sure you have descriptive H1 titles, and try to include H2 tags throughout the page to break up walls of text, and give people (and Google) an idea of what each section is about.

Heading 1 Tags - Hub Digital Marketing

See!? It's not that scary. It's all about just knowing the terms and what your focus should be when it comes to optimizing the backend of your website. Whether you end up doing it yourself, or hiring a company to manage it for you, we always believe that knowledge is power!

How To Sell Without Being "Salesy"

There's something crazy I've learned in all my years of working with Small Business Owners and Entrepreneurs. And that's that many of them, are afraid to "sell" their products or services. Here's the deal - you are the #1 sales person for your business. You are the prime champion and advocate for how amazing your products or services are. Don't be afraid to share them with the world!

In this video I dive into:

  1. How you can connect with your customers/clients in an authentic way so they won't mind when you do mention how they can take the next steps in your business.
  2. Why it's SO important to always have an "ask" with every piece of value you offer.
  3. When and how long you should run promotions for to your email lists so they don't get overwhelemed.

Oh! And here's a bonus 4th tip for you that I completely forgot to mention in this video, but one lovely Facebook commenter reminded me off (sometimes I get a little nervous with video, I'm working on it!).

4. Always bring products or services to the table in a way that helps you potential customer or client. Talk about the benefits and how it can solve a problem they have, or fill a need they may have. If you truly believe in what you have to offer and how it can help your customers, than this should be the easiest step for you!

Looking for even more digital marketing tips and tricks? Join our exclusive membership program, The Digital Marketing Hub! 

The Tools I Love That Make Marketing Easier

Today is Valentine's Day and we're talking LOVE here at Hub Digital! And by LOVE I mean some of the marketing programs and tools that we heart and use everyday. Check out the video below to learn more about them and why I recommend them, and then follow the links below to check them out for yourself!

The tools mentions in this post:

Canva - Graphic design program filled with templates to design everything from documents, to social posts, to banner ads. Can even create animated graphics for more exposure and engagement on social media.

Buffer - If you need help scheduling and managing your social media posts, we recommend Buffer as the easier to use, less expensive option.

ActiveCampaign - The email marketing platform for those with large lists and who need more integrated automated sequences and to move contacts through different sales funnels.

Mailchimp - For many businesses, Mailchimp covers more than enough of the emailing needs of a small business. PLUS it FREE up to 2000 subscribers AND automatic sequences are included!

Zoom - If you have video conferencing or Webinar needs, Zoom can cover both and is less expensive and more reliable than it's competition.

Drift - Have LIVE conversations with website visitors or encourage them to schedule appointments with you during your off hours. Engage your customers when they are thinking about you and your business.

Keeping Your Marketing Running While Squeezing Out Every Last Drop of Summer
Digital and online marketing tips from Hub Digital, Rhode Island.

Here in New England it took a while for summer to arrive. The cold and the rain hung around for a while, so we’ve spent every sunny day of August soaking up what we could. If you’re anything like us, you’re probably spending the last few weeks of summer trying to squeeze in as many final beach trips, ice cream sundaes, frozen margaritas, and lazy mornings with the kids as possible. 

While we all like to hit the pause button and head out on vacation these last few weeks before school starts, we also all understand that not all of our business can wait for the cooler weather.  Sometimes we’re off having a little too much of a good time, only to return in September to a backlog of emails, a giant To-Do list, and a book of business that could use a little kick in the pants to get going again. And to us, most importantly, a marketing plan that was pretty much ignored all summer long.

So this week, we’ve compiled a few simple tips to help you stay on top and keep your book of business organized and your marketing strategy optimized. Taking some time before heading out on the boat (lucky you!), or off to the zoo for the day, will ensure that your business is still working for you and ready for you to return after soaking up some rays.

1. Take a day to dive a little deeper and evaluate your current direction and growth strategy. While you don’t have to tackle everything on here (yet), it helps just to ask yourself some of these questions. Knowing where you stand will help you begin to formulate a plan, so when you return rested, and tanned, from your vacation you’re ready to address any issues, or dive right into any new projects or plans.

  1. What is working well?
  2. What needs to be tweaked? 
  3. What do your numbers look like up to now?
  4. Have you hit your growth goals?
  5. Where are new clients/business coming from?
  6. Are your current clients/book of business your ideal?
  7. Are you investing enough here, or too much there? 

2. Pick one day a week to schedule out all your content. If you’re usually someone who waits until the ‘day of’ to write that blog or Facebook post (and there’s nothing wrong with that… usually…) try switching it up during this time of year. Getting a few days ahead of the curve will help you ensure new content is constantly being updated in your absence and you won’t feel resentful about having to hit your computer to write a blog (or even worse, forget it all together) while everyone else is out having fun.

3. Commit to (limited) customer service 2x per day. We all know connecting with your potential clients or customers is important and so is answering their questions or getting them to engage on your social platforms. Commit 30 minutes, twice per day, to answering emails, liking/commenting on social posts, joining groups, etc. Do what you can, but make sure when that 30 minutes is up you shut your computer (or crash your Facebook app) and get back to enjoying your vacation!

4. Plan something big for the fall, and give yourself deadlines. There’s nothing worse than seeing time slip by and feeling like you could have done so much more. The fall and 4th quarter is a huge time for many businesses, and we don’t want you to feel like it passed you by. Commit to tackling a new project, marketing strategy, or big launch in the fall and put all the dates in the calendar NOW. 

Always wanted to run a lead generation campaign to really boost your email list? Give yourself deadlines for when you will have your lead magnet ready, your automated email sequence up and running and your Facebook ads live. 

Thinking about doing a big pre-holiday, in-store sale? Mark the dates off on your calendar now and work backwards to plan when your email campaign will start, your creative will be designed and ads will go live. By putting these dates in your calendar, you’ll be able to enjoy your time off while still feeling excited about the months to come. Plus it will give you target dates for when the party must stop (or at least calm down a little) and the productivity must start. 

So, whether you’re taking some well deserved time for R & R or whether you’re still hustling (or hopefully a combination of both), we hope some of these tips might help you get the most out of these dog days of summer, without leaving your business, or your marketing plan, high and dry.

The "Emily Post" Guide to LinkedIn Etiquette
Learn how to optimize your LinkedIn profile for maximum networking.

Ok, so this is more the ‘Tuni Schartner’ guide to LinkedIn etiquette, and anyone that knows me is probably getting a chuckle right about now as I tend to tell it like it is and I’ve been known to be honest to a fault!  I’m not, necessarily, who you would think of in an Emily Post reference. But, when it comes to LinkedIn I think I have a pretty decent grasp on best practices around ‘how to behave appropriately’.   I’m, at my core, a relationship marketer – I enjoy meeting and getting to know people and I’m a natural connector and facilitator of putting together mutually beneficial relationships.

We should start with the very simple basic facts:

  1. LinkedIn is a platform designed for professionals to engage, it is not a ‘social’ site like Facebook or a dating site (more on that later!).
  2. Professionals are people.  When it comes to sharing your professional information on LI, remember that even the top CEOs (or whoever you’re trying to connect with) are people so information should be created and delivered in a way that the ‘people’ on the other end hopefully find interesting, become engaged and might even convert into clients/customers or great referral sources.
  3. LinkedIn is a GREAT way to connect with and build your audience! 

A great quote from the founder of LinkedIn, Reid Hoffman:

"LinkedIn is a closed network, and for a very simple reason: For the network to have value as an introduction tool, the connections need to have meaning. It's up to you to vet each and every request so that if someone comes to you and says, 'Would you introduce me?' you're in a position to evaluate whether the connection would be of mutual benefit."

*Quote taken from the book, ‘Never Eat Alone’ by KeithFerrazzi. 

Hoffman’s quote really hits the nail on the head.  Why are you here?  LinkedIn can be a highly effective tool in your toolbox for creating connections then building trust with those connections that turn into mutually beneficial relationships.  

I often recommend to our clients, our Hive coworking members, and at workshops I lead on the topic of ‘Painless Networking Tips to Grow Your Business’ that when an authentic connection is made, say at a business networking event or through a warm introduction, etc…you then send a connection request on LinkedIn with a personalized note – as well as follow them on their other appropriate platforms ‘appropriate’ being the operative word here as their personal Facebook page wouldn’t make sense if this is strictly a professional connection.  In the case that a connection is made at a networking, business or even personal event and it appears that this might be a mutually beneficial connection, I recommend you follow up immediately with a personal email (or phone call or both) then go to LinkedIn and send that connection request and note.  If you find someone on LinkedIn that you’d like to be connected with – for different reasons such as, he/she is a colleague of a friend or client, someone you’ve met in the past through business or even an old schoolmate that you found on LinkedIn that makes sense (again in a professional and respectful way) to connect with , a new client (individual and team members),  and so on, use the same basic practice of sending a connection request with a personal note explaining why you’d like to connect.

Ok, now back to that reference to LinkedIn NOT being a dating site…don’t ever ask someone to ‘hang out’ or in any other way ‘hit on’ someone on this platform – it’s creepy folks, this is a professional platform.  Sorry, this literally just happened to me and as I was planning on writing this week’s Hub Digital blog on this topic…couldn’t resist and had to add this ‘what not to do’ tip!

Another what NOT to do tip, and this one is HUGE, don’t send someone a connection request and as soon as they accept it send them a super cheesy straight up sales pitch.  ‘I love it when people do this’ SAID NO ONE EVER!!!  

Overview: LinkedIn is a great resource and tool.  Use it to highlight your unique value proposition, differentiator, expertise and unique personality in a professional and respectful way that would make both Emily Post and I proud!  Grow your network, grow your business through solid relationships and the mutually beneficial sharing of information and connectivity!  

Making The Most of Your "Downtime"

We've all had those days. In fact, we're having one of those days today. There's about 12 inches of snow making it's way down all day, client meetings are cancelled, and we're pretty much caught up on work. It's a wonderful feeling to have things crossed off your To-Do List. Wonderful that is, until the guilt starts creeping in. If you're anything like us, you don't do "downtime" well. While you may be dreaming of cuddling under a blanket and mindlessly binging on Netflix, when it comes to actually doing it, you find it hard to shut your working brain off. And now it's a snowy Tuesday, and while you probably deserve a day off, you're finding it hard to get past that "I should be doing something" feeling.

Well, we're here to tell you it's ok. It's ok to take a little downtime every once and while, and it's also ok to want to make the most of it. We've got a list here for you of some of our favorite ways to take it easy, all while keeping your brain churning and your business growing.

1. Review relevant publications. Take some time to review the newest trends that are happening in your business, or better yet how to market your business. You may learn a new way to advertise, how to better optimize your current outlets, how markets are shifting, or how other businesses, like yours, are succeeding. Some of our favorites (for our industry of course)? SmartBrief - An awesome collection of business, marketing and advertising news focusing on newest and upcoming trends. Advertising Age - Check out what some of the largest companies and agencies are doing and brainstorm about how you can use similar strategies in your own business. Business Insider - After checking out a few of the entertaining op ed's, we head on over to the Advertising and Media sections to get some of the insider information on what's happening in the industry.

2. Get your learn on. Have you jumped onto the online class trend yet? If not, you're missing out on one of the best ways to learn some best practices, new marketing techniques, insider secrets and ways to inspire growth. Learn from some of the best in their business and learn the same tips and tricks they've used to grow their businesses to become major players in the market. Amy Porterfield - A former business consultant, she's completely transitioned her business into online training ranging from webinars to social media marketing. Melanie Duncan - The Pinterest queen, Melanie Duncan teaches you how to kick butt in one of the fastest revenue driving platforms on the market. Marie Forleo - The founder of B-School, Marie Forleo can help you get past any negativity or doubt that can come creeping in when you're not looking. Courtney Foster-Donahue - A little quirky, Courtney breaks down the always illusive Facebook, and how to actually create Facebook ads that work. Hub Digital - Who can forget your favorite crew from Hub Digital? With classes ranging from prepping your digital content, to blogging, to getting your website to the first page in search (that's right! Exciting stuff coming soon!) we're sharing all our best secrets that we use to propel our small business clients.

3. Plug into a Podcast. Grab your headphones and listen to some of your fav's without having to read through lengthy blogs. Better yet? Jump on a treadmill, pick up your duster, or apply a your favorite face mask, and you can now multitask growing your business while getting a little quality "you" time. Amy Porterfield - She's back, and bringing in some of her favorite friends sharing their top insider secrets. Gary Vaynerchuk - If you're not offended by swearing, Gary Vee gets real about all things social media, entrepreneurship and business best practices. The Fizzle Show - who says growing your business has to be so serious? The Fizzle Show hilariously takes on entrepreneurship and focuses on how to stay creative.

Stay Committed to Your 2017 Marketing Plan
Learn how you can committ to a successful marketing plan in 2017 with the girls from Hub Digital Marketing.

Did you struggle with your marketing in 2016? Did you want to blog, had plans to cultivate your email list, and tried to come up with something clever to post social media? Well, you've already taken the first step towards making 2017 more successful for your business. Knowing that your digital marketing is important, and wanting to do something to better it, is key to getting you started in the right direction. 

Now it's time to do something with that drive. Make a commitment right now that you will not give up on your digital marketing this year. You are going to write engaging blogs, connect with clients on your email list, and rock your social media. Sound good? Good! Check out the video below to find out how you're going to do all of this while still having the time to run your business.

Pretty cool right? Ready to dive in? Of course you are! Click here to learn more about "How To Create a Year's Worth of Content In One Day" and see what you can do for yourself and your business for an under $20 investment.

Should You Outsource Your Business' Marketing?
Hub Digital Marketing is a great resource for those looking to outsource their marketing in Rhod eIsland.

Who is in charge of marketing – creation and execution – within your business? Is it a person or a team? If it’s a single person, is that his or her sole focus, or is he or she wearing multiple hats and ‘handling marketing’ is one of them? So often, small businesses (we’re talking solopreneurs to businesses with 50+ employees) don’t understand the value of a solid marketing strategy. We’re not criticizing you here, not at all…it’s what we do and sometimes even we struggle with prioritizing our own marketing efforts! Marketing and sales go hand in hand. Yes, we know this is an age-old argument, but it’s true. Marketing compliments and supports (or at least it should!) sales, and without sales…well, all businesses need to sell, right?  

Some food for thought here on whether you might want to consider outsourcing some or all of your marketing. Larger companies with bigger budgets often have both internal and external (outsourced) teams, which is often optimal, but smaller companies can still experience similar benefits with an internal individual or point person and an outsourced team. Many smaller companies appoint an individual within their team who is ‘self-taught,’ and though that person may make the perfect internal point person or lead while working with an outsourced marketing company, they remain limited in their breadth and depth of experience and expertise.  

The 5 main benefits to outsourcing marketing:

  1. Cost
  2. Access
  3. Time
  4. Experience
  5. Education

Cost: 

Let’s start with money! Having a full-time, in-house marketing expert, or team, is expensive and can cost up to 6 figures. Hiring an external digital marketing team that remains educated and at the top of their field can save you money and bring you top-notch expertise!

Access:

Having access to individuals that focus solely on digital marketing and trends (which literally change on a daily basis) will often provide that extra edge over your competition. Not everyone understands, or values, the importance of staying agile and hyper focused on growth, and having an objective external team assisting with developing, executing and analyzing your growth strategies could give you the upper hand!

Time:

Recruiting, hiring, training and managing internal marketing teams takes time. We don’t need to remind you that time = money! Freeing up your valuable time to focus on what you’re good at is critical to your business’ success.

Experience:

Marketing companies have a depth of experience in all aspects of what you’ll need to create and execute a successful integrated growth strategy. Projects and tasks to consider when deciding on whether or not you might want to hire an outside team:

-Strategic Planning
-Designing Growth Strategies
-Executing Marketing/Growth Strategies and Campaigns
-Website Development
-SEO Campaign Development and Management
-Email marketing
-Social Media Marketing/Management
-Blogging & Content Marketing
-Video Marketing

Education:

Staying on top of the ever-changing marketing climate is like following a rocket ship that is zigging and zagging through outer space! From the many different social platforms’ nuances, to tweaking your company’s voice and messaging specific to your audience, to analyzing your SEO and so much more…it is literally a daily commitment to stay on top. If you’re one of the lucky ones that understands the value, and is able to invest in, the constant education for an individual or team, then we high five you!  

 

Marketing companies generally charge much less than it would cost to hire one full time expert and they provide fresh, objective and comprehensive input. While we understand that many business owners may be reluctant to hire an outside team, we wanted to outline some of the many benefits!

If Content Is King - Video is the Emperor
Learn why you must be using video as a small business from Hub Digital

Let’s face it – we’re obsessed with consuming video content. We’re all guilty of it – perusing YouTube, watching recommended video after recommended video, or watching one too many Facebook Tasty videos. The number of Snapchat users now exceeds Twitter users. We all love video, so why are so many small business owners still hesitant to invest in video marketing?

As we mentioned in last week’s blog, if content is king, video content is the king’s king! Video marketing is no longer up and coming – it’s a proven successful strategic marketing tactic, and it looks to be here to stay. But don’t just take our word for it. This infographic boasts a lot of impressive statistics about video marketing (who doesn’t love infographics?). For example, YouTube reports video consumption has risen 100% each year. Additionally, after watching a video, 64% of users are more likely to purchase a product online

Video is human, which is inherently more engaging. Just think about it – video opens up a world of creative opportunities to tell a story, demonstrate your product, or promote your brand. The brain processes visual stimuli 60,000 times faster than words alone, because video appeals to the senses. Video also has the capability to encourage user-generated content and create positive buzz; when a video captivates us, we share it with our network. And we all know what higher engagement means – better ranking in search engine results

We hear your excuses – “but video content doesn’t belong in my industry.” In the real estate industry? A 2012 National Association of Realtors study found that 85 percent of buyers and sellers “prefer to work with an agent who uses video marketing,” and that was 4 years ago! Since then, consumption of video content has only become more prevalent. Video marketing has a place in every industryB2B (use video to explain your product or service offerings), education & learning (animation videos are really engaging to explain a topic), healthcare (video can be a great vessel to simply sensitive topics), technology (to show audiences what your technology is capable of), and so on

 

A few video marketing best practices:

  • As with everything, know your audience and their consumption habits. Of course, that’s always key, and it goes back to our previous blog: are you where your audience is?
  • Get creative, and invest in high-quality. We all love video content, but most consumers have a keen ability to pick up on quality, original content. Be unique, and invest in professional video.
  • For Facebook videos, people love the dialogue to be in subtitles. This is for so many of consumers who watch Facebook videos at work, or keep their phone volume on silent. 
  • Don’t lose sight of your brand story. It’s easy to get caught up in all the creative aspects of creating a video, but make sure to keep in mind everything your brand is about. 
  • Keep it short. Our attention spans have decreased from 12 to 8 seconds in the last 15 years – so the shorter the better. As a general rule of thumb, keep your video under 90 seconds. 
  • Video marketing is not a comprehensive digital marketing strategy – it should be used as a part of a larger, strategic marketing plan. 
Why You Need To Commit – To Your Marketing Strategy That Is!
Commit to your marketing strategy to grow you business.

"After working with thousands of aspiring entrepreneurs over my career, I’ve learned that one of the most distinguishing characteristics of success is the perseverance of commitment."

What words come to mind when you think about commitment?   Loyalty, faithfulness, dedication, devotion, responsibility and obligation are the first to roll of our tongues here!  When it comes to your marketing/growth strategies, you need to stay loyal, faithful, dedicated, devoted and responsible!  You are obligated to commit to your business’s continued growth, right?

When it comes to developing a marketing strategy we can assume you’ve spent time identifying:

  1. Your differentiator/unique value proposition in your vertical, as well as your company’s vision and mission… 
  2. Your short and long term business goals… 
  3. Your available resources (the realistic amount of time, money and energy available to devote to your marketing strategy)…
  4. Your audience…
  5. And evaluating current and past marketing campaigns/efforts/budgets…

Now you have your marketing strategy and are ready to execute?  Great job!  It takes the rolling up of sleeves and a lot of work just to get here but your work isn’t over yet.  It’s time to put one foot in front of the other and commit to creating fresh content daily/weekly/monthly then get it out there through your various identified channels.  Creating a marketing calendar is key.  We recommend checking in, constantly, to identify what is working, and maybe what isn’t, what you might just need to tweak a little or shelf for awhile or maybe even trash and re-evaluate that part of the strategy.  Whether you’re evaluating specific content, times of day that you’re posting (on each individual platform as they are all different), blogging style, email campaign, results of a LeadPages campaign, Fb ad, and so on…remember it’s like a puzzle in which the image is constantly changing!

The single most important detail to keep in mind that will ensure your marketing strategy will be successful is your ability to commit.  Consistent effort and execution is the key to the success of your company’s growth.  Another important thing to keep in mind is giving campaigns enough time to prove themselves.  This is HUGE.  So often we start with the best of intentions, right?  But implementing successful marketing strategies is a lot like exercise…we know we need to do it, we know we have to stay consistent to get the results we desire but, let’s face it, it’s hard work!  At the end of a long day at work how many of us would much rather curl up on the couch with a glass of wine than hit the gym?  We understand that we’re all human, life happens and sometimes there are legitimate reasons why we can’t stick exactly to our plan.  One great aspect of quantifying what’s working and what isn’t on a daily/weekly/monthly basis is we can also look at areas where we might be doing a great job, staying consistent executing one aspect of our marketing plan but maybe there’s an area where we’re falling short…have no fear, just analyze ‘what’ it is about that task that is causing you stress.  Let’s say it’s creating your weekly blog that you’re struggling with?  Maybe it’s time to change the day, or time of day, you have set aside for that project?  Or maybe you need to update the blog calendar because those topics just aren’t speaking to your creative juices?   Or, maybe you’re really enjoying (and great at) certain parts of your company’s marketing campaign but you hate blogging and someone else on your team would be psyched to take that over?  

Here’s to your continued commitment & GROWTH!

Networking tips - how to make it less painful & more beneficial!

Since Amy is away on vacation this week, we've pulled in resident networker and women-about-town, Tuni Schartner, to break down the tips and tricks to successful networking.

Tips on how to network successfully

 

I know many of you out there HATE the thought of having to network.  I bet some of you might have even gotten to the door of an event and literally turned around and headed back home?  I’m also willing to bet there are some of you out there, like me, that actually look forward to networking events?  Whether you’re an introvert, an extrovert, or even an ambivert – that’s actually a thing, ambiverts are those who fall relatively in the middle of being introverted and extroverted, it’s almost like being ambidextrous, but with your personality…whatever your personality type, we can all probably agree that networking to grow your business (or professional career) is important.   We’re here to give you some simple tips on how to make it less painful (for those of you that dread it) and more beneficial (for all).  Your time, money and energy are valuable - networking can and should be both fun and provide a solid ROI at the same time!  

Let’s start at the beginning, peel back the layers of this onion and get right to the heart of the topic…what does networking really mean?  One definition of networking that is perfect in this context is: to interact with other people to exchange information and develop contacts, especially to further one's career. Pretty simple right?   

Go away pain…

If you’re the type of person that is painfully shy, just isn’t super comfortable being in groups of people, or maybe you might find the mere thought of going to a networking event causes you anxiety - here are a few tips on how to alleviate the stress:

1. The Buddy System - How about finding someone to go with?  You might be able to find a colleague, a coworker, a friend or even an employee to tag along with you!  
2. S.O.S .  Ask for Help- Talk to the organizer, director, or someone involved with the event - let them know that you see the potential value in attending their event but be honest about your stress. You are not alone, they’ll understand and they’ll probably be more than happy to help!  They might connect you with one of their veteran members or an ambassador in their organization that can introduce you around and sort of stay with you.
3. Practice Relaxation Techniques – Whether you’re skilled at mindfulness practices like breathing techniques or meditation (you can easily search for tips on these) or maybe you just need a glass of wine…find something that helps you relax a bit!  I know some great networkers that are comfortable around people and even enjoy events like this but we’re all human and sometimes we’re wound a little tight…even the best of us can benefit by having some tools in our toolbox to help us relax and ease into an event!

Time is money, make it count…

Now for our top 5 tried & true tips on how to use networking to grow your business (or career):

1. Find Your Tribe - The first thing to be mindful of, and something I often recommend to colleagues or clients, is to ‘find your tribe’.  I often suggest that it’s best to try before you buy – identify different organizations that might make sense to join and/or to get involved with then see what kinds of events are available for you to attend.  Go visit, make sure the people that attend seem like the type of people you can see yourself fitting in with, the events are run in a way that works for your personality and you can see that the investment might provide a return on investment.  
2. Show Up – It’s more than just signing up for an event and physically being there.  When you’ve invested the time, money and energy to attend…you need to really be present, open and ready to make connections.
3. Be Authentic – I can’t stress this one enough!  Don’t be ‘that person’ that shows up to take 10 business cards and give 10 business cards…yucko!  We’re all people and I guarantee that if you’re authentic and open, you’ll make some pretty cool connections that turn into lasting relationships.  Most people are interesting if you take the time to listen – ask questions and be curious!
Not Everything is Black & White – Something that I believe wholeheartedly to be true is that not everything is a straight line!  For instance, you might meet me at an event and just because I might not need your service doesn’t mean I don’t know someone who does or will in the future…
4. Follow Up – You’ve identified different groups and picked events to attend.  You’ve attended, been present, authentic, curious, and you’ve made some great new connections…now what?  Follow up!  We are all different and all have different time management algorithms, habits and so on, right?  What works for me might not work the best for you but there is a basic routine you can follow then tweak along the way.  Let’s say you get home from an event, you’re energized and you’ve met 5 people that you’d like to stay connected with in hopes that it’ll develop into a lasting relationship of some sort?  Maybe you’ll become referral resources for each other or maybe it’s a great potential client for you?  Whatever the scenario, here are a few basic tips on follow-up:

5. Enter contact info into your database(s).
- Do a little social research – follow, like or connect!
- Send an email/note – I like to send an email that night or within a couple days myself letting them know ‘why’ I enjoyed meeting them (or seeing them again) and might suggest we meet for coffee, a business meeting, etc…to continue the conversation ?  
- Then stay in front of them with email campaigns, social shares/likes/favorites or retweets.

I try to go to any event with the mindset that I’ll probably run into someone that I maybe haven’t seen in awhile (yay) and that I’ll probably meet at least a couple/few people that I’ll authentically connect with - I know it also helps that I truly like people (most anyway) and find business in general fascinating.  I get that I might not be the norm, but I do know that many of these tips have helped dozens of friends and colleagues ease into networking and make it beneficial in their businesses.  I hope you’ll find a take-away here and that you’re future networking events are stress-free and bountiful!